Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Rituals

Many couples include wedding customs from other faiths and cultures in their ceremonies. Borrow one of these for your special day.

Apache Blessing

A beautiful benediction for the end of your ceremony:
Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Breaking of Glass
Very traditional in Jewish weddings, this ceremony has become popular in interfaith wedding ceremonies as well.

In the Jewish faith the breaking of the glass signifies the destruction of the great temple in Jerusalem. Its spiritual significance is our reaffirmation of our faith in God. Our prayer today is that their lives together would be longer than it would take to fit these broken pieces of glass back together again.
(Alternate versions available)

Hand Ceremony

The Hand Ceremony is a beautiful addition to a wedding ceremony, with great symbolism and thoughts on your wedding day.

(Bride), please face (Groom) and hold his hands, palms up, so that you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you when fear or grief fills you. These are the hands that will give you support and celebrate with you in your accomplishments.

(Groom), please hold (Bride) hands, palms up, so that you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. They are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the year, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to fulfill your dreams.Our prayer for you today is that both of you will use these hands to build a marriage where all your dreams come true.

Irish Blessing

There are many versions of the Irish Wedding Blessing. This is probably the most popular:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.
(other versions available)

Rose Ceremony

Not requested very often, this ceremony is sure to make your ceremony unique and memorable:

Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings, which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect, and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a man and a woman, the title of husband and wife. For your first gift, as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose. In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant one thing, it meant the words I Love You. So it is appropriate that for your first gift as husband and wife, that gift would be a single rose (Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.) In some ways it seems you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose, and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways a marriage ceremony is like this. Tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday, but in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life, one I hope you always remember, the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.In some ways it seems you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose, and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways a marriage ceremony is like this. Tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday, but in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life, one I hope you always remember, the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. (Alternate versions available)

Sand Ceremony

The Sand Ceremony offers beautiful symbolism and commemorates beach weddings perfectly.

BRIDE and GROOM you have just sealed your bond by the giving and receiving of rings and this covenant is a marital pledge between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives. The most beautiful example of this partnership is the marriage union. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand. One, representing you, BRIDE and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, GROOM, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated, our prayer for you today is that your lives together would take longer than the time it would take to separate the individual grains of sand.

Unity Candle

Probably the oldest and most traditional ceremony option, the Unity Candle Ceremony is a perfect way to illustrate your union.

Bride and Groom, the two lighted candles symbolize your separate lives, your separate families and your separate sets of friends. I ask that you each take one candle and that together you light the center candle. The individual candles represent your individual lives before today. Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined to one light, and represents the joining of your two families and sets of friends to one. ___ and ___ will now extinguish their own candles, thus letting the center candle symbolize the union of their lives. As one light cannot be divided, neither will their lives be divided. (Alternate versions available)

Jumping the Broom

The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, one of the attendants produces the broom or a special person from the audience brings the broom and places it in the path of the wedding couple. They then jump over the broom on their way to the recessional. (various versions of verbiage available)

These are just some of the wedding traditions and rituals available to you, there are many more and several versions of verbiage available. This will give you some ideas for your ceremony.